The Benefits of Using a Collaborative Robot in Welding
For any industry, investing in robotics can be an important part of optimizing industrial welding operations for effective management and fulfillment of product variety and quality. To gain the capability and flexibility required for this, most manufacturers are deploying collaborative robots for welding jobs.
Collaborative robots are flexible automation machines that can be programmed to perform multiple functions besides welding. There are numerous benefits associated with the use of a collaborative robot in welding.
Collaborative robots are easy and fast to teach
A collaborative robot, like the UR5, is easy to program, even for someone without the technical knowledge rewired to handle robots. Anyone with a bit of knowledge on how welding works can guide the welding cobot manually to follow a program path to weld parts. Because collaborative robots are easy to use, manufacturers can train people in their team to guide the robotic arm without needing prior programming knowledge.
Cobot work safely alongside humans
With the proper precautions in place, collaborative robots can work hand in hand with human workers. Welding is a task associated with numerous risks, including weld spatter, arc flash, sharp wire, hot parts, and high current electricity. It is important to ensure that proper measures are taken, like wearing appropriate PPEs, to facilitate a safe shared work environment for the cobots and workers.
Collaborative robots are easy to redeploy
Compared to traditional industrial robots, collaborative robots can easily be redeployed for other tasks within the same manufacturing floor. This is thanks to the fact that they are easily programmable, they can work alongside humans, and are lightweight, making them easy to move. This means that one collaborative robot arm can be redeployed to meet changing production needs within a factory.
In welding, an ideal redeployment ofa welding cobot is in a plant with welding tables setup for human workers. These cobots can easily be wheeled up to supplement human labor while freeing humans for other less repetitive jobs in the company.
Collaborative robots accommodate high-mix, low volume tasks
Since collaborative robots are easy to program for different tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume processes. Collaborative robots can replace machine programing for parts manufacturing, which takes longer than the few minutes needed to program a cobot for the same task, thus ensuring quick changeover.
Using collaborative robots for paced productions of welding products in low quantities also reduced cycle time while maintaining the product’s quality. All this also helps to free up human workers for more value-added tasks on the production floor.
Cobots can weld longer seams
For your product to be competitive in the current market, quality is of utmost importance. The use of collaborative robots in welding makes it possible to create longer continuous seams in welded products, enhancing the product’s quality and outlook. Generally, manual welding can only produce up to 2ft of continuous seams, whereas a cobot can run up to 4ft of continuous seams.
This benefit helps to weld long parts as it reduces the start and stop parts along the seam, thus producing high quality welded finish. The best part is that this is possible without making floor changes to accommodate a collaborative robot.
Reduced cost of production
When human workers are freed from tedious, repetitive tasks to focus on other duties like custom welding that a robot cannot do, it allows the company to lower production costs per part. This is because cobots run simultaneously while human workers focus on different tasks, making it possible to get a lower dollar average per manufactured part. This is especially important once you achieve your ROI.
The best benefit of using collaborative robots is the versatility they offer. Besides welding, they can be deployed for many other processes in a welding plant, like loading and unloading standard welding work cells, and spot ped welders, seam and part inspection, and post-weld services like part placing and packaging.